Shifting Gears Into Warmer Weather
Spring has emerged and the treacherous winter driving conditions are behind us. Much like getting your car ready for winter, you should have a similar routine to prepare your vehicle for the warmer months.
Tires - This is the time you will want to put your snow tires back into storage and to replace them with summer tires if you haven’t already done so. If you have been using all-season tires, take this opportunity to have them rotated.
Fluids - Cars work hard in the winter months because of the cold temperatures. This works to deplete the ﬂuids quicker than at other times of the year, so make sure that all the ﬂuids are topped up.
Body - Road salt can be very hard on a car. Take the opportunity to wash your vehicle thoroughly to help avoid corrosion, while prolonging the life of your investment.
Wipers - Replacing your windshield wipers that may have been damaged by snow and ice over the winter is important to be able to deal with spring showers. Your car isn’t the only thing that needs to be ready for this time of year. There are driving hazards to watch out for, so follow these tips to keep yourself and others safe.
Rain can pose a hazard; heavy rains can reduce visibility and driving over puddles can lead to hydroplaning. Drive cautiously over large puddles, as water can lead to reduced braking ability, and can ﬂood your engine. The harsh winter conditions have made way for new obstacles on the road such as pot holes and debris left behind with the melting snow.
Keep your eyes peeled for these new obstacles. After being cooped up indoors all winter, people are eager to spend some time outdoors. As a motorist, it is important to be cautious and aware of your surroundings; remember you are now sharing the roads with pedestrians, cyclists and animals.
Children are more likely to be out in full force enjoying the outdoors and are not always as careful as they need to be. This makes it very important to drive carefully and scan the roadways.
Here are some things to look out for:
- Children playing road hockey and other games in the street.
- Children chasing balls into the street, often running from in between parked cars.
- Children walking home from school, sometimes crossing in areas not designated as crosswalks.
Distractions are a major cause of accidents on the road and over the last few years there has been a lot of scrutiny on the distracted motorist. However, there is another increasingly distracted road user to watch out for - the pedestrian.
Some things to be aware of include people talking on the phone, texting and walking, and listening to music with ear buds. All these can lead to pedestrians less likely to look both ways before crossing, not paying attention to trafﬁc signals, or not hearing motorists who honk their horns.
Tips for Driving Safe this Season
Animals - It isn’t just people that come out of hiding in the spring. Many animals are coming out of hibernation and foraging for food. Motorists should be particularly vigilant at dawn and dusk when animals are most active.
Cyclists - Cyclists also come out with the warm weather and the number of bicycles on the road dramatically increases in the spring time. As a driver, it is important to drive safely with cyclists as they are considered vehicles and have the same right to be on the road as a car. Always check your blind spots, especially on roads with bike lanes.
It may also be a good time to brush up on hand signals, so you are able to anticipate cyclists’ intentions on the road. When passing a cyclist, make sure you pass as you would when passing a vehicle. Many cyclists are hit and injured by vehicles trying to squeeze past them. It is important for drivers to be alert, be aware of their surroundings and to take the necessary precautions to keep the roadways safe.